Ground-Penetrating Radar Helps Locate Two Unmarked Veterans Graves in Granum, AB
The Last Post Fund Alberta Branch partnered with the Granum and Area Historical Society to dedicate two Veteran markers on 11 September, 2021.
Branch President Major Anthony R. Jewells, CD (Retired) and Directors Glenn Miller and Yvonne Sugimoto along with local dignitaries, the RCMP Association and Legion representation from branches of Claresholm and Fort Macleod were in attendance. The RCL Claresholm branch provided the colour party and Glenn Barrie was the piper. Approximately sixty people were in attendance. The LPF was recognized during the introductions and Glenn gave a speech representing the Last Post Fund.
The markers installed at Granum cemetery are for Private Robert John Emmit and Trooper Alroy Vernon MacLeod. Emmit’s grave had been unmarked and was located with the help of ground-penetrating radar. Ground-penetrating radar devices are rolled across the surface of the ground being explored, and high-frequency radio waves penetrate the ground, allowing researchers to detect buried objects, or even whether the soil has been disturbed. This technology is currently being used to detect unmarked graves at former Residential School sites.
When the municipal district (MD) of Willow Creek assumed ownership of the Granum cemetery from the Village of Granum, they found the existing records had some gaps. For example, wooden crosses had been common practice, but two significant fires occurred in the last century, wiping out many of these temporary markers. Therefore, a detailed GPR survey was conducted to ensure unmarked graves were not assigned as future plots. Many have now been identified and work continues by the MD of Willow Creek to determine who any remaining UMG may belong to – hence the interest of the Last Post Fund's involvement, in case there may be more Veterans among them.
Following the ceremony, LPF Alberta Branch President Tony Jewells presented a LPF Challenge coin to Lethbridge Global News videographer Jessica Robb and the two organizers from the Historical Society. Jessica has said she will keep the coin ready for whomever represents Global News at the next Veteran related event. The local media received their coins as a token of remembrance, and intend to challenge each other to bring them to Veteran events they attend. Not just a keepsake – a living reminder!
Field Notes is a newsletter dedicated to highlighting the work of Last Post Fund volunteer researchers contributing to the Lost Veterans Initiative. If you are interested in finding out more about the Initiative, please contact Last Post Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling: 1-800-465-7113.